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Thursday, 13 July, 2000, 11:30 GMT 12:30 UK
Rites of passage: What did you do?
Euan Blair was probably not alone in choosing to get drunk to celebrate the end of his exams this week. It just so happens that he is the son of the British Prime Minister, so his youthful escapade turned into national news when he was arrested late on Wednesday night.Disclaimer: The BBC will put up as many of your comments as possible but we cannot guarantee that all e-mails will be published. The BBC reserves the right to edit comments that are published.
But no one is being very hard on young Euan. After all, having a few too many drinks is a pretty common rite of passage into adulthood in Britain and many other countries.
What were your worst adolescent excesses? Are you prepared to go into print with them? What do teenagers do in your country? Send us your rite-of-passage memories.
John B, UK
Alcohol consumption by Muslims in Islamic states such as Pakistan is illegal and banned. On the other hand, it is not unusual to find the youngsters from elite families of Karachi and Lahore trying to prove their "coolness" by engaging themselves into consuming alcohol while still in their mid-teens.
This is a practice that ought to be condemned everywhere in the world and
Euan, like any other 16-year-old drinker, ought to be made aware of his mistake and possibly punished in order to prevent him from re-doing what he has done.
My pal was far more worldly wise than me, at 16yrs, so when he suggested after a skilful of beer that it might be a good idea if I controlled the traffic in the city centre. I immediately leapt out into the middle of the road and brought the traffic to a halt waving my arms about. I was a little amazed to find that many of the drivers actually obeyed my directions. Three years later I joined the local police force and for the next 20 years I did it for real! It wasn't half as much fun as that first time though.
Paul Charters, England
I think us youngsters need to be warned even more than we are now about the dangers of drinking large quantities of spirits.
When I was 16 I once drank a litre of vodka in an evening. I collapsed in an alleyway on the way home and woke up the next morning face first in a pool of vomit. Had I not fallen face first I could've choked myself to death.
By all means drink a few pints Euan, but don't go too far!
You celebrate with alcohol and you drown your sorrows with alcohol. No wonder your society is a mess!
A friend and I saved our dinner money for a few weeks and used it to buy a bottle of whisky. We despatched the liquor over a school lunchtime and then staggered, and fell, and crawled back to school. In the afternoon the whole school had to march down to the local church for the Christmas service. When I got home, I slept on the sofa for hours. My parents thought I had had a hard term and was exhausted; it was only some years later that the truth was revealed.
During my first week at University a friend and I were sat
beside each other in the pub. I turned to face him and noticed
that he had gone very pale. He then started to be sick, but somehow
managed to 'keep it in', until he coughed. At which point an accelerated
flow of vomit hit the well dressed woman sitting opposite us. I turned to look
back at my friend to find him already running out of the pub, I then turned
back to look at his victim, who had only then realised what had happened
as she stared in horror at the new design on her dress!
To "Allan, possible the last responsible parent in the UK"
Glad you weren't my Dad. You sound like you are as much fun as having tea with the WI.
Eric Davidson, Scotland
My boyfriend drank a litre bottle of Martini (of all things) the night before his English O level. His friends pushed him home in a supermarket trolley at 2.30am, banged on the front door and scarpered. His parents were livid, next day he slept through most of the exam. He became an electrician - that was his punishment.
Unfortunately I have only my parents to tell me exactly what I did. Ten years on the re-telling of the tale no longer reduces my mother to tears. The evening started quite normally with a few beers and ended with me handcuffed naked to a flagpole with a goat chained to my ankle. I'm sure my parents would have much rather I was found drunk in Leicester Square. I hope Euan has more luck than me and grows out of such stupidity!
Dave Strong, UK
We have probably all done it at some point and come through it, somewhat the wiser.
However, is it really something to boast about? Making a big issue serves very little purpose.
He is the Prime Ministers son, who was drinking "under age" in central London late at night.
It should have been allowed to quietly drop. No punishment this time, but no headlines either.
I climbed a 70 ft crane on a building site at 2:00 in the morning, having had several too many, which without doubt was the stupidest thing I have ever done. So much for rites of passage.
Doing a Euan?
Very boring indeed isn't it?
Sad to think that the entire populace thinks that getting drunk is the only way to celebrate the passing of an event.
Then again, maybe that's the one thing the British can still do?
We're certainly the laughing stock of Europe these-days aren't we?
In our student house in Sheffield we had a "Chunder Chart", a bar chart very nicely designed on a computer. The idea being we filled in a block... Some of us reached the top of the paper at the end of one term, and we had to start a new one.
Getting pulled in for being drunk and incapable? Been there, done that. Sitting in those grotty cells with the walls spinning around is not the best way to spend the night. I reckon Euan's had enough punishment.
We celebrated finishing our O levels with lemonade and crisps on the school field. I don't remember celebrating my A levels at all. I celebrated Finals with champagne on the college quad, and ended up propositioning my tutor, who tactfully turned me down!
Perhaps the fact that the Prime Minister's son chose to celebrate the completion of his exams by knocking back a few pints is an indication that the UK is becoming a bit less class conscious. Way to go, Euan!
Brandon Grover, United States
At 16 I was upset about a girl so I was invited out with a couple of friends. We were to go see a laser show (this was the '80s) and one friend dragged out a bottle of claret and said, "Have fun."
I downed it in five minutes. Next thing I know we're at the planetarium. The stars start spinning around to "Shine On You Crazy Diamond" and I staggered out. I tried to find the car I thought was ours, promptly collapsed upon its hood (bonnet for the Brits) and vomited copiously. And over my shirt.
The next morning, my mother tells me, "I heard you in the shower last night. Just make sure I know where you are the next time."
Don't worry, Euan, I still made it to Oxford.
From 14 to about 17 we used to get the kid with the beard (every bunch of mates has one at that age) to go into the shop and buy a load of beer, all bought with paper round money and then we'd get trashed, invariably throwing half of it away because after a few cans of cheap lager it did start to turn your stomach. We were never caught, it was never pleasant, and I hated hangovers.... but I did it every week for 3 years....then I went to pubs.
When I started at university I had so much nervous energy that I used to stand in my dressing gown in the communal corridor until 4am telling people crazy stuff like how my dad once got bitten by a horse. Seven years later, and I'm not really over that phase yet!
I remember with shame one incident that occurred when me and my friends were out celebrating the end of our A-Levels. Of course, we were extremely inebriated. We ended up dressing up one of our colleagues as the "Grim Reaper" complete with scythe borrowed from his dad's garden shed, and getting him to stand in the middle of a country road. We ended up getting arrested after an old lady had phoned the police, terrified out of her mind and convinced that her time had come. I feel nothing but guilt now, looking back at the shameful incident, and thinking that we could have caused the poor old lady to have a heart attack!
The first time I got really drunk, was when I was 14 and was supposed to be babysitting my 8 month old sister. Myself, my older brother and 3 friends decided to raid the drinks cabinet and play cards for shots. I hated the taste, but as I got drunker, I was deliberately losing so I could have more. I ended up completely scuttered!! I woke up the next morning, and my hair was sopping wet, and I was wrapped in a towel! I had to ask my friend why I'd woken up in this state. My mum had come home, found me comatose lying in my own vomit, and went mental!!! So she stripped me off and gave me a cold shower. It hasnt deterred me from going out on the "lash" every weekend, and the young Mr.Blair has got it all ahead of him!
If anyone wants to forget a few days from their life - I recommend 5 double vodkas, 4 pints and very loud dance music (so the stomach pump operators reliably tell me anyway).
Once in a bout of teenage rebellion, I kept out some library books beyond their return date. On another occasion, I ate a second helping of jelly and custard, even though I wasn't really hungry.
Of course, I've calmed down a lot since then.
How sad the British nation has become. Their only pleasure in life is drink. Now they celebrate a child being unconscious on the street and say "good on you" to him. This nation needs to wake up to alcohol and reclaim some culture.
Euan, welcome to the teenage drinking years. Everyone goes through it - mine have lasted 16 years! See you in two years time for the "A" level celebrations!
Battered, bombed, bladdered, caned, doused, damaged, hammered, savaged, rattled, trounced &c &c, plus all of the unprintable versions, must prove that everyone does it. He'll learn as we've all done, but the lad should just be left alone; getting drunk, especially under-age is a totally normal thing to do.
I drank 21 glasses of red and white wine from my parents cheap caskets and was found dancing around the house when they came home. Shortly after that I retired to my room, threw up all over the bed and passed out. When I came to, I was so embarrassed that I told my parents I'd eaten some olives from the fridge that were obviously off. They humoured me and threw the offending olives out - bless them! My room stunk of alcohol for 3 days and they never said a word...
Although I don't like people getting drunk, I was very proud of Euan. This young man didn't want to embarass his own father, and bravely faced the situation, even when he had to get through some lies. But still he was a good son to a good father. Mr. Blair, be proud of your son, he's unlike many others his age, he's a son who caters for his parents. Something missed a lot in your society.
At about age 16 while out walking with my father (who was fond of a pint or two) we witnessed a guy stagger out of a pub reeling drunk. He just about made it to the kerb before vomiting copiously then collapsing in the gutter. My father looked at me shaking his head in obvious disgust and said "son, drink whatever you like, but if you can't handle it don't drink it" good advice that I am about to pass on to my own son.
From 14 to about 17 we used to get the kid with the beard (every bunch of mates has one at that age) to go into the shop and buy a load of beer, all bought with paper round money, and then we'd get trashed, invariably throwing half of it away because after a few cans of cheap lager it did start to turn your stomach. We were never caught, it was never pleasant, and I hated hangovers....but I did it every week for 3 years....then I went to pubs.
There are simply too many incidents to recall, but perhaps one of the more infamous was in Germany on a brass-band tour. I downed two bottles of German wine at the tender age of 12. I remember almost falling from a second storey window whilst trying to relieve myself, and only finally relieved myself in bed on a regular basis until the morning. The lads who shared the room were none too impressed. Yet this experience for which I received the mother of all hangovers was only the precursor to other such occasions. I am proud to say my tolerance levels have since improved.
As an American who grew up in the UK I have no shame in saying that I've been drinking since I was 15! Now I'm 19 living back in the USA where the drinking age is 21, and more teenagers have access to drugs then to alcohol! I find this insulting and frustrating, especially when at 18 I was considered old enough to get drafted into the army to die for my country in a war, but I'm still legally too young to have a drink! Drinking restrictions only lead to rebellion among teens, they need to be relaxed! Besides who cares if Euan Blair goes out drinking, he is certainly not the only 16 year old in Britain who does drink large amounts of alcohol in one night! I cannot even begin to imagine the uproar in America if Chelsea Clinton was caught drinking!
Fair play to Euan. When I was 15 I got hammered at a friends house and collapsed at the top of his stairs. Thankfully my friends (unlike Euan's) decided they better get me home. I suppose they must have dropped me while carrying me downstairs because I had to go to school the next day and explain why I had carpet burns down the side of my face. Euan was doing what almost of us did at somepoint - we were the lucky ones who didn't have to wake up to press attention as well as that stinking hangover.
Oh yes, I got nicely tipsy when I finished my exams. But it was with my parents at a lovely local pub. They knew I wanted to celebrate the end of school and the beginning of further education. Of course, there were many scrapes I got into with my friends while "under the influence of alcohol" but at least my parents acknowledged that it was a part of growing up. It's because of my somewhat crazy youth that I can go into middle age with a smirk on my face.
When my friends and I got our GCSE results (we were 16), we went out for a night on the town, which for some of us was our first time drinking in a real pub. We all got very drunk, and staggered home singing (loudly and badly), and were all rather hungover the day after - was great fun :). There was also the time the year after (when I was 17), I went to a friends 18th birthday party, and drank a can of lager, three glasses of red wine, four bottles of lager, ate an entire vodka jelly, and then downed a pint of mixed spirits. This resulted in a two-day hangover, the second day of which I had mock A-level exams, starting at 9am. I have learned from that experience not to down large quantities of spirits however much your friends are egging you on :). I just wonder if the police would've believed Euan had he given his *real* name and address :).
Sixteen-year-old's get drunk everyday, why should the PM's son be any different?
Should he behave more responsibly just becuase his dad is PM? I don't think so, as that would take away his youth. I got totally wasted after my exams along with most of the year I was in.
We, like him, just got wasted and caused no trouble.
Scott Hope, England
Can anyone remember enjoying being drunk? It's time to find a better way of celebrating all our special occasions. Drugs, sex, rock and roll. Good stuff but at the age of sixteen and living in Singapore, the first 2 were really hard to get. Once ensconced in the UK for A-level studies, I can recall how non-plussed my UK peers were about these indulgences. There was nothing taboo about it. I never realised a vice could be so underwhelming. Forbidden fruit always tastes better when you can't get any!
I am a little stunned to see how pervasive the English attitude of embracing inebriation is. In American universities, students get wasted just as often but we are not so vocally proud about it, and from what I have seen in my travels in Britain, we are quicker to grow out of it.
Having completed my finals at university, 5 friends and I embarked on an epic drinking binge around London. I was ejected from a trendy night club at 2:30 am for having feigned an asthma attack and then vomited all over the bar. When I was eventually stopped by the police while stumbling across Hyde Park Corner, I realised that I could remember neither my address, or my name! I have, of course, learnt NOTHING from this experience.
End of term sixth form party where I was drinking whiskey and lemonade as there was no beer. All of a sudden felt extremely ill, managed to be sick outside and tried to walk home. Didn't work and was slumped outside at the end of my road where by chance my dad was driving through and noticed me. Put me in the car where I was sick again and was put to bed when I got home. Next morning too embarassed to see my parents until my mum came up with a cup of tea.
When I was a laddie we used to cycle to Inverness on a Friday night and climb to the top of the Wallace monument where we would swallow meths from a bicycle inner tube. We called this 'gurking' because you used to inflate the tube with a pump which would force the meths down your throat when you released the valve. It just goes to show that jeopardising your mental and physical health whilst putting yourself at risk of severe physical injury is a perfectly normal and acceptable thing to do!
I can't be the only person reading this who's never been drunk in his life, surely?
Sarah Gillen, England
I grew up in a well-to-do California beach
town in the '50s. We usually drank beer
on the weekends, not slobbering drunk, but
more than was good for us. There were kids
from well known families. It's tough to be a
kid with a well-known father. People expect
more from the kid than is reasonable. The
police were right in taking the Blair kid home,
but perhaps they should have kept quiet about
So where was Cherie when Euan was taking his GCSEs? Off sunning herself in Portugal with Baby Leo. What kind of support is that to get from your Mum? Who can blame Euan is he wants a bit of attention for himself. Go for it Euan!
Andrew Welch, England
I was 16 years old and drank 8 cans of export lager, and then when that ran out I drank half a bottle of Whiskey. As a result I spent 3 hours vomiting and then had to be carried home (five miles) as the taxi driver wouldn't take me. Then half way home my friend accidentally dropped me on my face in the local high street. I spent the rest of the night in A&E. I still have the flattened nose, a lovely 12 inch scar on the top of my head and another 5 inch scar on my eyebrow to prove it. Euan Blair should consider himself lucky to have been found by the police.
Well done Euan ! There's no shame in what you did. We have all done it. Just one piece of advice... Don't drink in Leicester Square, you can get a lot more hammered for your money around Camden.
Personally, I'm very wary of people who don't let themselves go once in a while. At the time, GCSEs seem like the most important thing in the world, no matter how trivial they look with a few years hindsight. Good on the lad, at least he knows what alcohol is capable of doing to him now.
It's an INSULT to say that Euan Blair is like any other 16-year-old! I didn't get blind drunk and incapable when I was his age and neither did my friends.
Tim Smith, UK
Getting drunk and vomiting is nothing unusual. Why this has
become a national story is perhaps because Euan's friends did not stick around with him long enough to put him in a taxi homeward bound.
I cannot forget my friend who drank from a big bucket of "cocktail".
It was at the age of 20, final years of graduation, a bucket was filled with all sorts of drinks, including some country stuff.
My friend drank mugs of that cocktail. He was almost at edge of his life. That event spoiled the whole fun.
Allan, possible the last responsible parent in the UK?, UK
I went to a private boarding school in the Isle Of Man and on your last night it was traditional to "trash" the school. On my last night, after copious amounts of beer, we painted the sleeping junior students with white wash and dismantled the cricket score box, assembling it again in the dining hall. Just like Euan, we did no real harm ...It's all just part of growing up!
At 15 years old I had a skinful at a beach party in St Andrews. Dad picked me and several friends up around midnight and drove us home (to Dundee). I promptly fell asleep in the car and Dad never twigged I was guttered until the last person got out of the car, slammed the car door, at which point a mixture of beer and gastric juices just launched themselves everywhere. The next day I got my backside walloped with Dad's big belt - very sore indeed. I had had an excellent evening and have never regretted it. Although it was 14 years ago, Dad still can't find the funny side!
I went to a boarding school and we were very sheltered from the real world. I think the most ridiculous thing was after an afternoon drinking a bottle of martini (sweet of course!) an older girl told us that you could get high if you crushed up Refreshers and sniffed them. We duly sent a younger girl off the school grounds (very naughty) to buy some Refreshers, and spent some considerable time when she returned, smashing the sweets on the carpet with our school shoes, and inhaling the sugary mess. Needless to say, it didn't work, and we had a fair bit of mess to clean up...
I'd like to tell you, but I can't really remember. Cider does that to a person.
Euan, welcome to the real world. Getting drunk and throwing your name away happens to almost every person in this world at some time or the other due to over-indulgence of booze. It is nothing to be ashamed about, keep you chin up.
On the night of my GCSE results, when I was 16, I went to a pub with my friends, many of whom were older, but some my age, and drank 5 pints of purple nasty (cider, lager and blackcurrant), and started, quite naturally, to feel very sick. I couldn't get out of the crowded table I was stuck at, and was sick in a crisp packet, which I filled to the brim, and then managed to carry apologetically through the crowds to the toilet, where I sat and stared at the door for some time.
At the age of 15 I would go out every Friday and Saturday night in my home town to the town centre pubs and drink as much as possible with friends before going home and being ill. Both my younger brothers have done the same as have all their friends. The pattern of the weekend on the town did not stop during my undergraduate studies either. What damage has it done me? Well perhaps my internal organs are seriously scarred but other than that not a lot. I have a first class degree from a good university and am looking forward to a bright future.
Wyatt Austin, England
At an end of term party we had all chipped in a certain amount of money to buy the booze.
Determined to ensure that I got my money's worth, I drank a large amount of lager in a short time.
About an hour later it really hit me, and after collapsing in the kitchen I took a stroll outside to get some air. Having been ill once already, I then found myself wandering, for no apparent reason, in the general direction of home. Things are a little hazy after that, but I am reliably informed that my parents returned home that evening to find me asleep............with my head down the toilet.
Good on yer Euan, hope your oldies don't give you too much grief.
07 Jul 00 | UK
Cherie flies home to Euan
06 Jul 00 | UK
Blair's son 'drunk and incapable'
06 Jul 00 | Health
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